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Dumpling Green

Dumpling Green is now part of East Dereham and lies approximately one mile south of the town centre. It is traditionally assumed that George Borrow, the novelist and travel writer, was born in the village on the 5th July 1803. However, it is possible that this attribution is due to an error on behalf of Dr William Ireland Knapp who wrote the first biography of Borrow.

Dumpling Green

Dumpling Green Sign

Some have suggested that Knapp, who was an American academic and who came to Norfolk in the late 19th century to conduct research, may have mistaken the location of the farm owned by Ann Borrow's parents.

Ann (nee Perfrement) was born at Dumpling Green in 1772 and her parents Samuel and Mary certainly owned a farm in the village - but it may not have been the Georgian property usually identified as Borrow's birthplace.

George Borrow's Birthplace

George Borrow's Birthplace (Or is it?)

George Borrow Plaque

George Borrow Plaque

The house still stands today and is located at the end of an unmade-up road and has a plaque above the front door proudly proclaiming the link with Borrow. (When you reach the fork in the road, take the left hand track and the house is at the far end.)

Ann Perferment married Thomas Borrow (Borrow's father) at East Dereham church in 1793 but, at the time of their son's birth, it is thought that they were actually living in rented accommodation in the High Street in Dereham (near what is now Chambers store) - not at Dumpling Green.

If Borrow himself is to be believed (and it has to be said that he is not the most reliable source as he frequently blended fact and fiction) he was born in Dereham:
 

'On an evening of July, in the year 18-, at East D - -, a beautiful little town in a certain district of East Anglia, I first saw the light.'


These are the opening lines of his best known semi-autoboigraphical novel Lavengro. He was baptised on 17th July by James Philo the Dereham Parish Clerk. Philo who also makes an appearance in both Lavengro and Romany Rye. Today there is a plaque on the wall of Church House celebrating James Philo.

James Philo Plaque

James Philo Plaque, Dereham

Maybe it is fitting that such a restless and driven individual as Borrow should not have a known birthplace.


Links:
George Borrow Trust

More George Borrow Location Photographs
 

 

 

 

 

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